From start to finish: An exclusive look at the making of the 2016 Census

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Catalogue number: Catalogue number: 11-629-x

Issue number: 2017001

Release date: February 1, 2017
From start to finish: An exclusive look at the making of the 2016 Census - Transcript

Description of visuals

Data moves us forward.That's why we at Statistics Canada work hard to ensure our census is a success.

(Black and red dots appear on screen. These dots appear and then disappear throughout the video.)

And with the reinstatement of the long-form census, we're expecting even more community data to come our way!

(A census form is shown.)

2016 marked the 350th anniversary of the first census! We've always believed in adapting ourselves to the way Canadians do things: starting in 2006, the online questionnaire was introduced as a secure and convenient response option.

(More black and red dots appear. We see a bronze plaque which reads "Bureau of Statistics". "350 years" appears on screen. We see Statistics Canada employees working in their offices. "2006" is created with many small red dots. We see a web page from the 2016 Census. There is a large room with tables where employees are sorting piles of questionnaires.)

2016 also saw the return of the mandatory, long-form census.

("2016" is created from many red dots.)

Canadians have never been so enthusiastic!

(We see large machines scanning questionnaires.)

The collection response rate for the long-form was 97.8 per cent, the best ever recorded.

(Employees are piling questionnaires in a large metal container.)

So, what does it take to organize a national census for a country as large as Canada?

(Employees are having a discussion around a table. One person is standing and we see a person’s hand writing something down.)

Well, it's highly complex. Among other things, it involves determining the questions to identify how data needs have changed from 2011.

(2011 emerges on screen and the years 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015 scroll by quickly. We stop at 2016.)

Should our materials be designed differently? Do we need new questions? Public consultation and the testing of census questions are two key activities that occur in the lead-up to the census. You helped us make sure our census was clear, and easy to complete.

(2016 transforms itself into graphs and statistical elements. There are census forms piled in a metal container.)

The next big challenge is the printing, assembly and mail-out of census packages to almost 16 million dwellings. 8,212 documents were prepped every hour!

(We see census form packages in a sorting machine. Employees place census packages in boxes.)

Between May and July 2016, we recruited roughly 35,000 employees from across the country to help Canadians complete their census.

("May" and "July" appear on screen, a line separates both words and the word "2016" is written underneath. "35, 000" appears above the line and we see the silhouettes of people, in red.)

At our call center, 200,000 interviews were completed by phone, 1 million calls were answered by our automated system, and 2 million calls were made to our Census Help Line. In the communities across the country, census enumerators worked just as hard, visiting close to 4 million homes during the 2016 Census. On May 11th alone, 34,080 calls came into our Census Help Line in one day!

(The image of a telephone operator appears in a circle, with "200,000" underneath it. Fingers on a keyboard appear with the number 1,000,000 beneath it. Another circle is seen and we see a telephone operator with 2,000,000 written underneath. Another circle appears and we see a census taker and 4,000,000 below it. Another circle appears and we see a telephone operator and the number 34,080.)

Next, we track the questionnaires and responses, and process millions of answers in a very short time.

(We see the image of a red house, and then more and more red houses appear on screen.)

By the end of September our database is full of Canadians' information and the community data begins to take shape.

(The houses transform into red dots, the dots are dispersed and then come back together in the shape of a map of Canada.)

Come February, this data is released in multiple waves, each at 8:30 am.

(The dots which formed the map of Canada are dispersed once again, we see a long red line and the illustration of the sun above it.)

After our analysts verify and validate the data, they process the information into a variety of fun, interactive formats such as maps, infographics and videos - so you can easily see what's relevant to you. Highlights are also shared with you via our social media accounts.

(There is a large red dot in the middle of the screen and the dot transforms itself in many different ways. Images representing videos, maps and infographics appear. We see an image representing a cell phone.)

Once the data is released, our analysts face a busy day of media interviews, and for a good reason: this data changes everything. It is used to guide a variety of public services and social programs such as schools, housing, transportation, and many more. In other words, it directly impacts you.

(A microphone appears on screen. A series of dots form a social media marker, and other dots appear and get bigger. In the middle of these dots, we see the images of four different persons.)

The census gives us vital insight into Canada's demographics, letting us better understand who we are and where we're going. Data keeps us informed. And when you lead the way, we all move forward.

(A series of dots come together to form the image of a maple leaf.)

Your census. Your neighbourhood. Your future.

(A dot separates from the others and moves to the right. We see the words "census" "neighbourhood" and "future" one after the other.)

(The Census logo appears with the words Your Census, Your Neighbourhood, Your Future. The image fades in the Canada wordmark against a black background.)

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